Coach Michel set for new beginning with troubled Marseille
After starting the new Ligue 1 campaign with back- to- back defeats, troubled Marseille play their first game under new coach Michel when Troyes visit the Stade Velodrome on Sunday.
The Spanish former Real Madrid star, who had been out of work since leaving Greek giants Olympiakos at the start of this year, signed a two-year deal to become the permanent successor to maverick Argentine Marcelo Bielsa.
Bielsa resigned in the wake of the season-opening 1-0 defeat to Caen, leaving assistant Franck Passi to oversee last Sunday’s 1-0 reverse in Reims.
However, the decision to appoint Michel, like Bielsa a non-French speaker, may not be to everyone’s taste, with Marseille winger Romain Alessandrini admitting last weekened: “It’s going to be difficult if another person comes with a translator, and so on and so on.”
Meanwhile, there have been further changes to the playing staff in recent days, with Marseille hardly able to believe their eyes when Newcastle United came in with 17 million euros (US$18.9 million) to sign flop Florian Thauvin and threw in France international playmaker Remy Cabella as part of the deal.
Former Montpellier star Cabella arrives on a season-long loan which could become a permanent eight million-euro move next summer.
“I’m very proud to be here and I can’t wait to get out on the pitch,” said the 25-year-old Cabella as he returned to France having struggled to make an impression during his season at Newcastle.
“I’ll remember a lot of things, both positive and negative, from my time in England. I grew up and progressed a lot,” added Cabella, who said he was fully fit ahead of the meeting with newly-promoted Troyes.
Monaco Look For Boost
Meanwhile, Monaco go to Toulouse as they look to get back on track following a 3-1 defeat in Valencia in the first leg of their Champions League play-off on Wednesday.
Quarterfinalists last season, Leonardo Jardim’s side face an uphill struggle to turn that tie around in the return at the Stade Louis II next Tuesday, but first they must get back to winning ways in Ligue 1.
Influential midfielder Joao Moutinho remains on the sidelines but left-back Layvin Kurzawa could return after missing the Valencia encounter, even if he is the subject of mounting speculation about a big-money transfer to Paris SaintGermain.
Reigning champions PSG will look to continue their perfect start to the season when they visit Montpellier on Friday, although they will be without Marco Verratti, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gregory van der Wiel at the Stade de la Mosson and there will be no debut yet for Angel di Maria.
Paris cruised to a 2-0 victory against new boys Gazelec Ajaccio last weekend and will be favorites against a Montpellier side who prop up the table after losing their open- ing two matches.
“If we could win all our matches 2-0 by creating lots of chances, with the opposition goalkeeper making two or three decisive stops, and not giving any away, I’d take that straight away,” said Paris coach Laurent Blanc.
“But that won’t be the case, I can assure you.”
France international defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, a new signing from Roma, could make his Lyon debut when last season’s runners-up entertain Rennes at the Stade de Gerland on Saturday.
OL were held to a goalless draw at home by Lorient on the opening weekend but summer signing Claudio Beauvue scored against his old club to give Hubert Fournier’s side a 1-0 victory at Guingamp last time out.